Dr. Strangelove is the first “comedy” on my list. Wow, it took until 1964 to have a classic comedy? Doesn’t seem right. After doing some quickipediaing (registered trademark of ZDT), here's a very brief history of comedy.
Initially, you have the old silent cartoons, like Steamboat Willie, or Steamboat Itchy, can't remember which is which. Staying silent, you've got Charlie Chaplin next. I wonder how many generations it will take for Chaplin to be forgotten? When you think of pop culture from that era, he's probably the biggest, but even he will be forgotten eventually. There's one for ya, who's a more popular entertainer than Charlie Chaplin for the first 3rd of the 20th Century. I can think of a few baseball players that will be remembered longer, but sports are a little different than film and music, and music ... Robert Johnson? As a music maniac, I can't think of anyone close to Chaplin in terms of popularity.
After Chaplin, you get the Stooges, whom I'm sure many of our dads loved, and every now and then I clamor for them to be on during Sunday morning hangover so I can see what all the fuss is about, but they're never on. It seems like growing up they were always on on weekend mornings and it sucked because I wanted cartoons. Now ... and speaking of cartoons, I wonder when the USA Cartoon Express suffered it's last breath? Probably the same day the USA network decided all it's programming has to have alteast 18 murders per hour.
In terms of feature length, non-silent films, a few biggies came out before Dr. Strangelove.
The Ladykillers, which I'm unsure of it's actual popularity of it's time, versus being remade by the Coen Brothers and absorbing a rebound of popularity in the same way Ocean's 11 did because that was remade.
The Apartment, which indeed won Best Picture in 1960, so that's gotta be pretty good right? I'm going to check that one out, but can't comment on it yet aside from saying, it didn't seem like a big enough deal to warrant me wanting to write something about it.
It's a Mad Mad Mad World, which I've tried to watch a few times, but for some reason or another, it never works out.
So there you have it, the major advances of comedy before Strangelove come out, and aside from the famous "riding the bomb" scene, I don't really see where anyone would laugh in this movie, but maybe it's not that kind of comedy. Oh well, it's still a dang good flick.